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Raul Loya


1938 - 2015 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Raul Loya Obituary
Raul Bejarano Loya

June 30, 1938 - April 1, 2015

Raul Bejarano Loya, beloved husband, father, educator and activist, died peacefully on Wednesday, April 1st, 2015, in the San Francisco Bay Area.

He began as a copper miner in Miami, AZ and went on to be the first in his family to go to college. He got his M.Ed. from NAU where he married the love of his life, Servita. They taught in Navajo and Apache reservations and, in 1965, moved to the Coachella Valley, where Raul would become a pillar in the farm-worker struggle for justice.

Raul was falsely imprisoned in 1969 for disturbing a "church" service. He was part of a political rally where advocates clapped in unison drowning out a congressman who didn't support the boycott of non-union grapes. Represented by MALDEF, Raul and three co-defendants had their verdicts overturned by the Supreme Court of California and became known as The California Four.

Raul and Servita faced constant pressure to stop their political activities, including death threats, "We know where your daughters wait for the bus." But they stood up for what was right in the face of harsh intimidation.

He was a director of the Mexican American Political Association; a Knight of Columbus; and co-founded IDEAL newspaper and the Mexican American Scholarships. His work is memorialized in many books, including Forty Acres and in university archives.

As a teacher, Raul was an inspiring mentor, loved by his students. Later, he sought an administrator position. Routinely passed up for promotions and noticing so few Latinos in such roles, Raul sued the Desert Sands Unified School District. He never won in court, but 12 yrs into the suit, he became a Dean and eventually a Principal, paving the way for generations of Latino educators. As Principal of Indio's continuation high school, run out of trailers, he transformed it into an award-winning school named Amistad, with its own campus.

Raul was a force to be reckoned with, but to his daughters, he was a softy- sentimental and caring. He taught them to swim, bike, fly kites, fish and play poker. Never a dull moment, he was even chased by a moose in Yellowstone! He loved saguaros, geysers, redwoods and humming birds. He photographed the sunrise at the Grand Canyon moment by moment. He loved Muhammad Ali; his Kachina collection; and Fiddler on the Roof. He treasured moments with his grandchildren, like eating cookies and milk and sharing stories.

Last year, with family and friends, Raul and Servita celebrated their 50th anniversary at Absinthe in San Francisco.

He is dearly missed by his wife Servita; daughters Anamaria, Patricia and Katherine; "sons" Chris, Carlos and Shaun; grandchildren Christina, Aidan, Raul and Mateo; brothers Gene and Rudy Arellano and their families; "brother" Frank Alfaro and family; and devoted nieces Diane, Stephanie and Anita and their families.

We love you. You are in our hearts forever.

Wake: April 10th, 5-7pm, Pacific Interment, 1094 Yerba Buena, Emeryville, CA
Mass: April 11th, 10am, Newman Hall, 2700 Dwight, Berkeley, CA
Memorial: April 11th, 12pm, Richmond Country Club, 1 Markovich, Richmond CA.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Apr. 6, 2015
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